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32 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2019 Feature by Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 The ripples start at the very front of the process when the engineering and design team make their first choices about the performance characteristics for their project, then select components to fit their performance windows. As the project proceeds, the team makes hundreds and even thousands of little choices about which capacitor, resistor, packages, etc. In a traditional design flow, the project team tends to use the parts they already know and for which they probably already have footprints—the parts may be a little long in the tooth, but they are well-known quantities with a solid supply chain. Except these are not traditional times. It doesn't work the same way now; the market is much more turbulent. The PCB supply chain has changed. "The parts that are in the greatest demand are what we call popcorn parts—the really low-cost penny parts. Since the dot-com crash in 2000, the prices have been depressed to the point that they're a very low margin for the manufacturers, making their average selling price not profitable," states Stephanie Martin, senior VP of supply chain at Vexos, a low- to mid-volume electronics manufacturing and custom material solutions provider. "None of the main manufacturers that I've talked to are expanding in the larger case sizes." She continues, "They're expanding in the 0201 and the 1005 case sizes, but not expanding in the 0402 and above." This starts causing problems for those tried- and-true parts chosen in the design phase. Martin notes, "That's where most of the industrial sector is still located—in the larger case sizes. I think the only real relief that's going to come for those part sizes is when the OEMs decide to do a redesign into the smaller sizes." What's the Cause? Dave Doherty, COO at Digi-Key, shares this, "If you look across industrial, medical, Perspectives on Supply Chain Ripples

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